Posted in Daily Word

A Critique of Critics

Difficult times in the natural usually precede a spiritual awakening. We are in difficult times now, and the signs of an awakening are visible.

Recent reports show that church attendance is up across all age, gender, and socio-economic groups.

There is also turmoil within the ranks of the Church itself. There is controversy (as there has always been) about new methods and terminologies and experiences.

I have watched with interest the various changes over the past 50 years. I was a part of the change within the Catholic Church and the Second Vatican Council. I witnessed the awakening now called the Charismatic Renewal. I’ve listened to the fights among evangelicals that renewal engendered. I’ve watched the various ‘revivals’ since then that have proven less than real and brought reproach upon the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve seen the New Age Spirituality make its inroads into the pulpits of Christian Churches.

The Emerging Church Movement has been characterized as buying into all that is New Age.

I have read the critiques of the leaders and the works of some  of the leaders.

The Prosperity Gospel and the Word of Faith people have been criticized and challenged by Congress.

I have read the critiques of the leaders and the works of some  of the leaders.

Why the controversy? Why the heat? Why are there some who seem to have nothing better to do than to “warn us of the dangers?”

Yes, as one who is called to leadership in the Body I understand the necessity of understanding the perilous times in which we live. I understand the mandate to take heed to myself and to the flock of God. I understand that there will be false prophets and teachers who will secretly slip in and deceive the flock. I truly know and understand these things.

I also know that there are few (if any) who are called as a leader of the entire Body of Christ. (The Pope doesn’t even claim that privilege!)

Is that what we should be doing? It is, if it is your calling.

But, what is lacking, what is causing so much falsity to arise is more to be addressed than the falseness itself.

Jesus said that if we would continue in His word then we would know the truth and the truth would make us free.

Why is there not more of the Word being proclaimed? Why are new believers not being encouraged to get into the Word? Why do people find the modern church irrelevant?

Because the Church leaders continue to look to the world for the solution as to why the world is not enamored with the Church. We ask them why they are not coming, and then we try to do something based on those findings. That is about like asking a four-year-old why they won’t eat their peas and they say they want candy; so we give them candy. They still won’t eat their peas, and the cycle continues. Ridiculous!!

Until we return to the two basic fundamentals of church growth, we will never see another revival as great as those before 1950.

The two fundamentals are mentioned in the Acts and are the two things that got the most votes on my Opinion survey on this blog: prayer and preaching. (Acts 2:42) Notice that fellowship and communion are also mentioned. (More on that at a later time.)

There are many among the critics of the various movements who are strong to call for a strict adherence to the Word. They pick on every little word that people write on the various blogs and challenge their overall orthodoxy. This is not the kind of preaching that I am talking about. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.

There must be life behind the words that are spoken or written.

Truth is not imparted mind to mind. Truth is imparted life to life.

And it is the truth, the presence of truth, the reality of truth being lived out that will once again draw people into the Church.

Jesus said He is the truth. He said that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself.

Oh!! There is so much here I want to write more and more! There is such a dearth of hearing the word of God. (Amos 8:11) There are many who are highly skilled at finding three points for every one of their three points in their three-pointed sermon. It makes for a great outline, and leaves the hearer filled with admiration at such oratorical skill. Yet few come to Jesus.

No, dear reader. Skilled sermonizing, music services, outreach programs, light shows, nor any other thing will ever replace the simplicity of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Let those who preach begin with that magnificent centerpiece and expound and explain in simple terms what it means to follow Jesus.

That kind of preaching will not fill our churches with the multitudes; but it will fill our churches with those who are looking for what it means to follow the Master.

Posted in Daily Word

Blindness

2 Corinthians 4:4

among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. (NET)

whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)

in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NASB)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV)

Is there a difference between the god of the age in which Paul wrote these words and the god of the present age? Probably not. Most believers recognize the “god of this age” as Satan.

But, then we can classify what it is that people of the age worship, such as money, power, prestige, fame, etc. Again, we would be hard-pressed to make a dinstinctive difference for the two ages. We do not know for a certainty, however, what it was like in those times. However, we do have some witnesses who have left us written records.

Is it important to know if there is a distinction? NO.

Why?

Because the result is the same–they are blinded to the light of the gospel.

Are they victims? The plain statement is that they have been blinded by an outside force. In our society of today we take that to mean “It’s not my fault! Someone else has done this to me!” And so we cry and bemoan our miserable situation.

And the Lord has spoken plainly to us about that very thing:

Proverbs 19:3
The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD. (NKJV)
A person’s folly subverts his way, and his heart rages against the Lord. (NET)
A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD. (NIV)
People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD. (NLT)

The truth, however, is hidden in plain sight–unbelief is the cause. Satan can only blind those who do not believe.

And that, my friend, is your responsibility.

To believe, or not to believe; that is the question, is it not?

You have been given more than one opportunity to believe the Lord Jesus, and to this point you may have rejected those opportunities. But, you are here today, reading this blog by the mercy of God.

Today is your day.

Stop your unbelief. Believe, and call on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)